Chapter 1Mature

As he slips out of the small hotel room, the weary middle aged man feels the warm brush of an encroaching Summer; it would strike in the following weeks, tearing away the comfort of in-between weather and drying out the days into something intolerable and wet with misery. It seems the summers are getting hotter; the winters colder;  and the the other seasons shortening against those extreme weathers. What had been something of typical nuances of familiarity, now is something incoherent and otherworldly. It's like Mother Nature's on PMS and she isn't looking for a cure out of it, laughing at us in bitchy glory.

He pulls a clear, purple lighter  and crumpled cigarette from his jacket, and smooths the cigarette out before lighting it. He finished half of it yesterday, and seeing how this was his last one for some time, wouldn't want to savor it in one single sitting. He came to Louisiana with only enough money for gas and food, not to splurge on the likes of slow cancerous death. He straightens the cigarette and lights it, inhaling the deep smoke as it swirls through his lung like a candy breath of comfort.

" I'll always love you no matter what," echoes through his mind between cigarette puffs, throbbing against his mentality like a bad headache. No matter what, huh? Does that consider death, that " No matter what" ?  Does death qualify as something between that bond? He leans more toward no. Death is just that, death. Then why did he come to a place like this. Is there a sense of doubt beyond his questioning? A reason of prevention? Maybe he's trying to find justification through this whole ordeal. Could this place hold that key? No. This is crazy. This is childish foolishness taking grasp of him, not common sense. Aside from meaningless, craze induced grave conversation and star gazing, you can't do anything to talk to those you lost. He needs to realize that before something bad happens. Through his inner conversation he'd puffed his cigarette away, feeling the sting of its last life as the cigarette falls from his mouth. He licks his lips of the burn and sighs at the loss of his favorite hobby.

He heads over to a faded blue Camaro with rust around the edges, and slips into the driver's side seat with a defeated shake of his head. Yeah, this is stupid. The only way to get through this old fashion waiting or maybe a good dose of liquor to ignore those immature thoughts roaming around his head. The latter of the two sounds pretty intriguing right now. He turns his car on as it roars with a thick grumble and backs out along the stretch of broken highway, running between a bayou and a line of various rundown stores and a few places struggling with business, they lost their resources when Katrina hit and it went downhill from there, and heads down this highway toward a bar he saw coming onto it.

Like a redundant bee, that reoccurring thought of what he'd come for drains into his subconscious and feels his mind with the aggressive guilt of " What if?". Those two words seem strong in their sense, luring people to their death, happiness or other mediums of the same essence. It seems to be the foundation of many situations and paths we take. But it's just two words. How strange is that.

He comes to a screeching halt on pulling tires and the car comes to a quick jolt that thrusts him forward, but in the same respect, slams him into the leather padded seat. What is he doing? He's forgetting the whole idea of why he came here in the first place. It was for her. He could feel the guilt slither and melt across him, weakening in an acid realization. She doesn't deserve this, not her. This was someone beyond the standards of those on the street or someone we meet on a certain hour, on a certain day. This was his beloved wife, that one person bound to him through thick and thin.

Another idea etches in his head, a theory used in many stories about a person on a quest: What if the bar held information on what he could do to establish this reasoning? I mean, a bar holds all types of characters, right? They surely would know how to do this. And if not, there might be some direction he could take from that location.

With that notion held tightly in his mind, the anxious man carries on his path toward the bar with hopes of an answer on high regard. There has to be one person among them to direct him. A bar is the place of conversation, whether incoherent, interesting or something else to claim to that debatable fame. It always has a story to be told, and his is the next.

His car tumbles across the questionable dirt road, weaving Nick back and forth in fierce, unforgiving strokes. He passes an old gas station that's seen its last days through boarded up windows, a roofless island and spray paint dancing across the white brick in a condescending voice of local colorful characters. It conceals an open space with various remains of car wreckage. Beyond that is a small wooden building with an iron roof and sign reading " Le Rouge" in bold red letters across a small billboard. It sits in a nook of high grass and broken fence with a gravel parking lot housing only a few junkers. He parks between a junk peddler and a three-shade compact car, and slips out of the car with a sense of dread staring down this establishment. The front held two large windows advertising various prices and merchandise through large cardboard squares that hide a dimly lit room within.

He slips through the wooden front door with two windows, and beholds the simple, rundown glory. There's two sections to this small bar: the serving counter with various beverages to poison any bad memory and wood stools lining it, and the seating area that houses six tables with a handful of chairs. A large sized man with a bulldog mug stares at Nathaniel, his beady blue eyes piercing right through him with a stoic glance. It looked as if he came from a wrestling ring; muscles hide slightly under forgotten folds of flesh,inflating the man beyond his heavy weight. At the serving counter, to the right, is a smaller individual huddling over a large stein of beer with thick, madded brown hair and raggedy clothes. From one guess, you could probably say they claims the junk hoarder outside. Nathaniel finds a seat next to the vagrant-like individual and smiles at the tender respectfully nodding.

" Care for poison to make you forget unawanted problems, friend?" cateres the tender with a nod of his own, leaning on the counter before Nathaniel.

" I came for information regarding local lore," replies Nathaniel with a nervous tone. He's unsure whether akward glances would befriend glances at what he's about to reveal toward these two people. Even though this is a place harboring strange ideas, this one might still be queer in some areas.

" Local lore, eh? You wouldn't be referring to Voodoo or similarities there of, would ya?" interrogates the tender curiously as he fixes Nathaniel a drink anyway.

" That frequent, huh?" wonders Nathaniel with a cocked brow. He guess that this wasn't as strange as he precieve. It is the backroads of Louisiana, and that comes with the terroritory of the weird and bizarre.

" You could say that," says the tender, sliding Nathan's drink to him. " Tourists usually claim that conversation before any other, friend. It's like a drug to tourists. They yearn to experience the strange and bizarre for that halloween factor".

" The Norm seem to like the adventure of a creepy good time, it amuses them. I, however, have come on a more personal note, mind you," agrees Nathaniel with a sip of his beer.

" Alright. I'll bite, friend. Why come to a dump like this?" wonders the tender as he cleans a glass before Nathaniel.

" A cantina of stories and information, as they say," states Nathaniel with a satirical toast to that cliche.

" And by coming to this bar, you expect to gather some information regarding what you seek, eh? reads the tender with a mocking scoff and shake of his head.

The End

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